Born in Trinidad but raised in New York, Carmichael would become a prominent activist, lecturer, and organizer during the civil rights movement, and later, the global Pan-African movement. The Howard University graduate rose to prominence in the civil rights and Black Power movements, as a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), later as the “Honorary Prime Minister” of the Panthers, and then as a leader of the All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party (A-APRP).
As a student, he participated in the Freedom Rides of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) to desegregate the bus station restaurants along U.S. Route 40, and was frequently arrested along with other Freedom Riders. Though his views often conflicted with major leaders of the civil rights movement, his impact on providing a diverse narrative advocating for freedom and equality for black people in the U.S. was pivotal at the time.
In 1968, he married Miriam Makeba, an esteemed South African singer who was Guinea’s official delegate to the UNÂ and relocated to Guinea, living there as Kwame TurÃ©, and he continued as a political writer and speaker, through the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s, even venturing back to the U.S. to address and recruit for A-APRP and speaking out against inequality and discrimination until his death in 1998. The Rev. Jesse Jackson once said of Carmichael: “He was one of our generation who was determined to give his life to transforming America and Africa. He was committed to ending racial apartheid in our country. He helped to bring those walls down.”